With the uniquely named album, Peripheral Drift Illusion, set for release October 10th, John Dylan is following up the infectiously dreamy ‘Get Beyond’ with the second single from the experimental record, ‘If I Want You To’, which presents an entirely new musical personality to the multifaceted songwriter.
The new single drops down the tempo, leading with a sleepy, tremolo laden guitar line that echoes remnants of Queens of the Stone Age, whilst John’s light-as-air vocals float through the kaleidoscopic static, as walls of fuzz invade the song and drag it to much darker ground. However, this is before the song’s outro, a maelstrom of swampy effects and the intensified kick drum take things up a notch, showing a considered and intelligent structural progression from the talented songwriter. ‘If I Want You To’ displays another side to Dylan which was previously unseen on the upbeat, euphoric stylings of ‘Get Beyond’.
Speaking on the subject of the track, John notes that ‘If I Want You To’ is a meditation on privilege and power dynamics: ‘The droning void in space, delicate vocals, and tension are all about discomfort, evoking how unsafe it feels when your well being is in someone else’s hands: The feeling of ever-present danger looming above people who are vulnerable.’
Multi-instrumentalist and producer extraordinaire, John Dylan, has had music running through his veins before he was even born, with his parents attending concerts for Elvis Costello, Bob Marley and Stevie Ray Vaughn whilst he was still in the womb. But now, after previously having exhibited his work through the vehicle of the genre-defying band Terrene, (who had their record produced by Phil Ek: The Shins, Fleet Foxes, Built to Spill), John has now gone solo, bearing the load on his reliable talents as a songwriter.
Dylan’s ‘Open Source Music Volume 2’ for ‘If I Want You To’ includes no fewer than 22 b-sides capturing some highly emotional and expressionist recordings made after John left his family and high school as a teenager. John commented that ‘I felt very isolated and angry and was wringing a lot of feeling out of myself during the creation of these recordings.’
To confine Dylan’s eclectic stylings to a single genre, or compare him to a single band would be a near impossible task. With a life revolving around music, John has formed some unique standpoints when it comes to his work. For example, whilst he may be considered a ‘rock’ artist, John enjoys flipping analog rock aesthetics on their head, using a completely digital workflow that utilises complex technology such as guitar-triggered MIDI and VST-driven keyboards.
Also, for each single, John is embracing his counterparts in the hip-hop, dance and electronic cultures by allowing the songs to be ‘open sourced’, holding a remix competition for DJs and other electronic artists to sample and rework his songs, with the chance of appearing on the widely released version of the single. The contest is being hosted by Indaba music, and the previous competition for ‘Get Beyond’ has seen over 50 entries from all over the world, spanning genres as diverse as reggae, hip-hop and future garage.
Although John takes inspiration from a wide range of sources such as Nirvana, My Bloody Valentine and The Beatles, his style draws similarities with the likes of The Flaming Lips and Tame Impala. Previously, John was involved with underground math-rock band, Mars Accelerator, who played alongside Modest Mouse and released an album produced by Steve Fisk, who coincidentally, had worked with Nirvana. In the past, John has also supported experimental outfit, Of Montreal, and the artwork for Peripheral Drift Illusion is being created by John Lennon’s bandmate, Klaus Voormann, who also designed the cover for the Beatles’ classic record, Revolver. Klaus is also creating the upcoming single artwork, alongside Jesse Michaels, former lead singer of seminal punk band, Operation Ivy.